Raiders vs. Buccaneers Odds
Coming into the week, I had the Raiders circled as a potential target at +3 or better. I’d show value in that line compared to my numbers, and additionally, this set up as a great situational spot with the Raiders coming off of a bye and taking on a Bucs team traveling across the country after a blowout win against the Packers.
And then the COVID-19 news started rolling in.
Now, the Raiders could potentially be without their entire starting offensive line, which is arguably the strength of their team. That’s an unprecedented problem to have.
And while Derek Carr is playing at an extremely high level — he even leads the NFL in deep-ball passing — you don’t want to take on this Tampa defense with a potentially piecemeal offensive line. And it’s not like this group got to practice together for any extended period of time to build any kind of continuity.
Tampa’s defense is the real deal and might be the best in the NFL. Todd Bowles has that unit rolling for the second consecutive year. It remains to be seen what the long-term impact of losing star defensive tackle Vita Vea will be (potentially worth up to a point), but this is still an elite group.
Lavonte David is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL and Tampa has found two superb corners on the outside in Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis. Even rookie Antoine Winfield Jr. is playing great at safety on the back end. This defense is strong at every level.
The Bucs lead the NFL in yards per game as well as ESPN’s QBR and Pass Rush Win Rate. That’s spells doom for Vegas if it doesn’t have most or all of its starting offensive line. Oh, and for the second consecutive year, Tampa has the league’s most stout run defense.
On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady is starting to settle in to this new offense. He also now has his primary weapons on the outside all healthy. That’s a scary thought for a Raiders defense that ranks 31st overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Vegas struggles in coverage, in generating pressure and when it comes to getting a push up front against the run.
That’s a trio of problems you don’t want to have in today’s NFL.
From a betting perspective, this game is very difficult to handicap without knowing the status of the Raiders’ offensive line. At full strength, Vegas would be a play in the +4.5-5 range that the line is sitting at as of writing (compare real-time odds here). However, with the current uncertainty, the side is a pass for me.
This is what the starting offensive line could look like:
- LT Kolton Miller
- LG John Simpson
- C Andre James
- RG Patrick Omameh
- RT Brandon Parker
Simpson and James would be making their second career start. If everything goes right, the Raiders will most likely have three starters back, assuming Richie Incognito is still not ready to return from IR. That would mean a backup guard and tackle in a group that hasn’t practiced together leading up to the game. The best case scenario certainly isn’t even ideal against what may be the league’s best defense.
Raiders-Buccaneers Betting Angle
I do have some interest in a live total. If Tampa were to jump out to a lead early and Vegas isn’t fully healthy upon front, I may look at a live under between two teams that don’t play very fast.
Both rank outside the top 20 in situation neutral pace, per Football Outsiders. I’d expect the Bucs to slow it down in the second half with a decent lead and the Raiders offense to struggle if forced to use backups up front.
LIVE ANGLE: Under